Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 10, 2014 10:30am-12:31pm EST

10:30 am
production, that would be on december 31. now, one of the areas where the chairman and i disagree is in gitmo, and that's -- we have had a friendly and honest difference of opinion on that. i look at gitmo as one of the few resources we have that's a good deal for government. we've had it since 1904 and it only costs us $4,000 a year and half of the time cuba forgets to charge us so it's a pretty good deal. and there's no place else that we can put, in my opinion, the -- the combatants. people say, well, you can bring them back to the united states. the problem we have with this, if you intermingle some of the people there with the prison population, these are not -- these people down there are not criminals. they're people who teach terrorism. so there are a lot of arguments against that. and i -- that itself could be a two-hour speech here. but i'm not going to get into that. i'm just saying, there are some areas where the chairman and i
10:31 am
disagreed and there are a lot of compromises that we had to have because we knew we had to have the -- the bill. the -- we wouldn't have -- if we don't pass this bill -- the european reassurance initiative to stand up against russian aggression. i went over -- i shouldn't have done this because i was on the ballot this year for reelection, but for the week prior to our election here, i went over to see what was happening in ukraine because ukraine was having their elections a week before we had our elections. and not many people are aware that in ukraine, fo poroshenko,n ukraine, a political party cannot have a seat in parliament unless they get 5% of the -- of the vote and the vote was taking place a week before our vote. well, this will be the first year, the first time in 96 years that the communist party will not have one seat in parliament.
10:32 am
now, that's amazing. and, you know, we have to understand what is happening with -- with putin. i also went over toe lithuania. lithuania, estonia and latvia and those areas in the baltics. that's another problem that we have. and they want to give us the assurance it's not just putin over there in ukraine but they're becoming aggressive. i coin the term what putin is trying to do is de-reaganize europe and to take out all the freedoms that was there and try to put the old coalition together. so anyway, it's a huge thing and that's addressed in this bill in a very aggressive way with the reassurance initiative. so -- and also the -- we would not have, if we don't pass this bill, the counterterrorism partnership fund, which i think we're all aware of is so necessary with isil on the rampage that they are. so we have a lot of the provisions. i think the chairman did a good job of covering these.
10:33 am
there are a couple that perhaps might be overlooked or i might add for my personal interest. one is the support of the aircraft modernization program. people talked about how and historically we've always had the best of everything but now when you look at china, you look at russia and what they're doi doing, it's -- it's a very difficult thing for us. you know, we had the f-22. the president terminated that program i his first year in offe and now we have all our eggs in the basket in items of the strike vehicles in the f-35 and a lot of people don't like the f-35. you know, i -- but that's what we have to have and that is in this bill to continue with that. the e2-d surveillance aircraft, that's one that very few people know about. it's one of the ugliest airplanes in the sky but it's one that is necessary for surveillance and other functions of government. the kc-46, the tanker aircraft. we've been using the kc-135 now for decades and we have to go
10:34 am
toward a more modern vehicle there. and we do have on the books, we'll continue to do that, working with the kc-46. and so several others, some improvements to the workhorse of the military, the c-130 aircraft and other vehicles. so this -- this -- without this bill, we're going to have to stop some of these things. and think about the costs. we have contracts, in the midst of contracts right now that we could be in jeopardy of losing. the -- the construction on military and family housing that is there. it's very significant. so i think all these things. and one thing that i think people are interested in, this will end the reliance on russian-made rocket engines. we hear a lot about that and this has kind of a time frame when the current contracts run out and that we are going to be developing our own rocket
10:35 am
engine. i think that's -- i -- i've heard from a lot of the experts outside, tom stafford is one of the famous astronauts, he's from oklahoma, and he and i have talked at length about what we are going to be able to do with some of these rocket engines. so i -- i think that's enough reason right there why we're going to have to do this and i think everyone realizes that. we've heard a lot of things that, frankly, are not true. unfortunately there was -- there are some groups that were kind of antimilitary groups that came out with some things that weren't true and some of the talk-show hosts that i admire were giving information that wasn't quite as accurate as it should have been. and right now the -- if you can think of no other single major reason to do it, to pass this bill, it's to take care of those individuals that are in the field right now that are fighting. we have the exact count.
10:36 am
i want to be sure we use accurate figures here. we have as of today, 1,779,343 troops in the field or enlisted people. personnel, and these are -- people, or personnel, and these are the people that would be relying on, that we would be reneging on the commitments we've made to them. so when we hear the criticism that we're not -- that we're somehow cutting their benefits to put in that land package, that just isn't true. the land package happens, and, again, we don't need to talk about this, because that's not our committee. that's the committee referred to by the chairman in his remarks. it's the energy and natural resources committees of the house and the senate. but its budget neutral. over a 10-year period, the c.b.o. says it's budget neutral so that there is no legitimate argument that we're using any of the funds that would otherwise
10:37 am
go to the military on the land package. and it's one -- i have to say this. the process is wrong. we shouldn't have -- we've done this in the past and we're not going to do it again -- but we shouldn't have a land package come in. it has nothing to do with defense but nonetheless it's there. so i was offended by the process. frankly, i have to -- confession is good for the soul, i guess, and after reading it, i thought, you know, that's a pretty good bill. and if that were brought up, if that had been brought up outside of this, i would have still voted for it. but the process is wrong and i think we all understand that. we did the best that we -- that we could. so we have these -- these things that are going to right now and i just think that we -- we can't take a chance on not having, or the first time in 53 years not passing ndaa bill by the end of the year. it would be a crisis and while the system could be criticized, the way it happened, you know,
10:38 am
considering that we passed our bill out of the committee on may 23rd, we should have had it on the floor, we should have had it done in regular order and we'll do everything we can in the future to try to make that happen. but for two consecutive years now we have not been able to do that. we've had to go to the system where they call the big four, the chairman and the ranking member of the house and the chairman and the ranking member of the senate, to pass this bi bill. and i think in this case we've come up with a good bill. we've been able to incorporate 47 of the amendments that have come from the -- those that were filed to be added on the floor. so we've done the best that we can and there's no other alternative now when you consider what will happen if some -- for some unknown reason this would be the first year in 53 years that he don't have ndaa bill. so i would just say this, i will just repeat what i started off with, and that is what a joy it's been to work with carl levin over these years in the capacity of either the chairman
10:39 am
or the ranking member of the senate armed services committee. and you'll be sorely missed. and oddly enough, we also have the same situation happening over on the house side with buck mckeon. i served with him when i served in the house. he's going to be retiring after this. so we have two retiring chairmen of the two what i consider the most significant committees here in washington. so we're going to continue to work together through the rest of this bill and we're going to have a good bill and we're going to uphold our obligation to our -- that 1,779,343 enlisted personnel in the field. we're not going to let them down. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: first let me thank senator inhofe for his friendship, most importantly, but the great partnership that we've worked out. it's been a real pleasure working with you.
10:40 am
i should perhaps just say that we know we're confident that our successors will carry on this tradition as well, that senator mccain, the new ranking member, jack reed, will be carrying on this tradition that we've done everything we know how to maintain. and i just want to again thank my good friend, jim inhofe, and his staff who've worked so well with our -- with the staff on this side. you know, we talk about this side of the aisle, that side of the aisle. in this bill, obviously, there will be differences, very rarely, by the way, on a partisan basis even when there are differences. but the aisle sort of disappears when it comes to the defense authorization bill and that's the way it should be. and i yield the floor. mr. inhofe: let me reclaim my time to make one other comment. the two people sitting down with us, peter levine on our side and john bonzel on our side, their compatibility in working together is also kind of
10:41 am
unprecedented. it doesn't happen very often. and i can't speak for you, senator levin, but i can speak for me, that without these two working together, i sure could not have done -- participated in a meaningful way. so i want to thank them. mr. levin: well, you are speaking for both of us, i can assure you, with that comment and so many other things that you've said. and i think at this point, unless there's someone else who wishes to be recognized? i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. levin: would the senator yield for just one second? i just want to thank him for the great contribution that he has made to our committee. i know he's not going to -- i think he's planning on speaking on a different subject, in which case he's played a major role on the intelligence committee and i look forward to reading if not hearing his remarks on the subject which i know he's spent a good deal of time on. but he's spent, although he perhaps has more visibility in terms of intelligence committee, he has been a major contributor
10:42 am
on the armed services committee and i can't say we will miss him because i won't be here to miss him but they will. they will miss the senator from colorado. the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. udall: thank you, madam president. before i start my remarks on the historic day that was yesterday, when it comes to the publication of our long-in-the-making report on the c.i.a.'s torture program, i do want to thank the chairman for his leadership, for his mentorship and for his friendship. i also am proud to be a part of obviously the armed services committee and to have chaired the strategic forces subcommittee. and we're once again going to keep faith with the men and women in uniform, as my good friend, senator inhofe, has pointed out. that's the crucial task in front of us and i look forward to one of my last votes as a united states senator from the best state in the nation, colorado, casting a vote for this year's national defense authorization act. so again i want to thank my two friends from -- who have
10:43 am
mentored me and who've led our committee with great alon and intelligence. madam president, yesterday was a historic day. almost six years after the senate intelligence committee voted to conduct a study of the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program and nearly two years after approving the report, the american people will finally know the truth about a very dark chapter in our nation's history. my goal from the start has been twofold. first, i've been committed to correcting the public record on the c.i.a.'s multiple representations to the american people, to other agencies in the executive branch, the white house, and to congress. and, second, my goal has been to ensure that the full truth comes out about this grim time in the history of the c.i.a. and our nation. so that neither the c.i.a. nor any future administration repeats the grievous mistakes
10:44 am
this importance oversight work reveals. the process of compiling, drafting, redacting and now releasing this report has been much harder than it needed to be and it brings no one joy to discuss the c.i.a.'s brutal and appalling use of torture or the unprecedented actions of some in the intelligence community and the administration have taken in order to cover up the truth. now, a number of my colleagues who've come to the floor over the past 24 hours to discuss this report have referred to 9/11. and i, too, will never forget the fear, the pain and the anger that we all felt on that day and the days that followed. americans were demanding action from our government to keep us safe. everyone, myself included, wanted to go to the ends of the earth to hunt down the terrorists who attacked our nation and to make every effort to prevent another attack.
10:45 am
although we shared that goal, this report reveals how the c.i.a. crossed the line and took our country to a place where we violated our moral and legal obligations in the name of keeping us safe. and as we know now, this was a false choice. torture didn't keep us safer at all. by releasing the intelligence committee's landmark report, we affirmed that we are a nation that does not hide from its past but learns from it and that an honest examination of our shortcomings is not a sign of weakness, but the strength of our great republic. from the heavily redacted version of the executive summary first delivered to the committee by the c.i.a. in august, we made significant progress in clearing away the thick obfuscating fog that these redactions represented. as the chairman has said, as
10:46 am
chairwoman feinstein has said, our committee chipped away at over 400 areas of disagreement of redactions down to just a few. we didn't make all the progress we wanted to, and the redaction process itself was fill with unwanted and completely unnecessary obstacles. and unfortunately, at the end of the day what began as a bipartisan effort on the committee did not end as such. even after my colleagues on the other side of the aisle were repeatedly urged to participate with us as partners. as my friends here in the senate know, i'm a legislator who goes out of his way to form bipartisan consensus. however, it became clear that that was just not possible here, and that is regrettable. but all told after reviewing this final version of the committee study, i believe it accomplishes the goals i laid out and it tells the story that
10:47 am
needs to be told. it also represents a significant and essential step toward restoring faith in the crucial role of congress to conduct oversight. congressional oversight is important to all of government's activities but it's especially important to those parts of the government that operate in secret, as the church committee discovered decades ago. the challenge that the church committee members discovered are still with us today. how to ensure that secret government actions are conducted within the confines of the law the release of this executive summary is testament to the power of oversight and the determination of chairman feinstein and the comesms this committee to -- and the members of this committee to doggedly beat back obstacle after obstacle in order to reveal the truth. madam president, there are a
10:48 am
number of thank yous that are in order and i want to start by thanking the chairwoman. i want to thank the committee staff director david grannis, staff lead for the study. dan jones and his core study team. afn -- evan and scott chandler. they toiled for nearly six years to complete this report. they shepherded it through the redaction process, all the while giving up their nights, weekends, vacations and precious time with family and friends in an effort to get to the truth of this secret program for the members of the committee, the u.s. senate and now the american people. they have been assisted by other dedicated staff including my designee on the committee jennifer barrett. we would not be where we are today without them. i'm grateful beyond words for their service and dedication, and i want them to know our country is grateful too. let me turn to the study itself,
10:49 am
madam president. much has been written about the significance of the study. this is the study. it is a summary of the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program. i want to start by saying i believe the vast majority of c.i.a. welcomes oversight and believe in the checks and balances that form the very core of our constitution. i believe many rank and file c.i.a. officers have fought internally for, in support of the release of this report. unfortunately again and again these hardworking public servants have been poorly served by the c.i.a.'s leadership. too many c.i.a. leaders and senior officials have fought to bury the truth while using a redaction pen to further hide this dark chapter of the agency's history. but the document we released
10:50 am
yesterday is the definitive official history of what happened in the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program. based on more than six million pages of c.i.a. and other documents, e-mails, cables and interviews. the 500-page study, this document, encans laits the facts -- encapsulates the facts drawn from the report which is backed up by 38,000 footnotes. this is a documentary. it tells of the program's history based on the c.i.a.'s own internal records. the pros is dry and spare as you will see for yourself. it was put together methodically without exaggeration or embellishment. this study looked carefully at the c.i.a.'s own claims, most
10:51 am
notably that the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques used on detainees elicited unique otherwise unattainable intelligence that disrupted terrorist plots and saved lives and it debunks those claims conclusively. the c.i.a. repeatedly claimed that using these enhanced interrogation techniques against detainees was the only way to yield critical information about terrorist plotting. but when asked to describe this critical information in detail which plots were forwarded, the c.i.a. provided exaggerated versions of plots and misattributed information that was obtained from traditional intelligence collection claiming it came from the use of interrogation techniques that are clearly torture. this study shows that torture was not effective, that it led to fabricated information and
10:52 am
that its use even in secret undermined our security and our country more broadly. our use of torture, and i believe the failure to truly acknowledge it, continues to impair america's moral leadership and influence around the world, creates distrust among our partners, puts americans abroad in danger and helps our enemies' recruitment efforts. as senior c.i.a. leaders would have you believe their version of the truth promoted in c.i.a.-cleared member wores by former c.i.a. directors and other c.i.a. and white house officials, that while there was some access in its detention program, the c.i.a. did not torture. their version would have you believe that the c.i.a.'s program was professionally conducted employing trained interrogators that used so-called enhanced interrogation
10:53 am
techniques on only the most hardened and dangerous terrorists. but as professor darius bejolly writes in his book "torture and democracy" and to quote him, "to think professionalism is a guard against using excessive pain is an illusion. instead torture breaks down professionalism." end of quote. and corrupts the organizations that use it. this is exactly what happened with the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program. and without proper acknowledgement of these truths by the c.i.a. and the white house, it could well happen again. in light of the president's order disavowing torture, his quote, we tortured some folks,
10:54 am
quote, we hope to lead by example, end of quote, in correcting our mistakes. one would think this administration is leading to right the wrongs of the past and ensure the american people learn the truth about the c.i.a.'s torture program. not so. it's been nearly a six-year struggle in a democratic administration to get this study out. why has it been so hard for this study to see the light of day? why have we had to fight every tooth and nail every step of the way? the answer is simple. because the stutd did -- study s thing the c.i.a. and other government officials don't want the public to know. for awhile i worried that this administration would succeed in keeping this study entirely under wraps.
10:55 am
so while the study clearly shows that the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program itself was deeply flawed, the deeper more endemic problem lies in the c.i.a. assisted by a white house that continues to try to cover up the truth. it's this deeper problem that illustrates the challenge we face today. reforming an agency that refuses to even acknowledge what it has done. this is a continuing challenge also that the c.i.a.'s oversight committees need to take on in a bipartisan way. those who criticize the committee study for overly focusing on the past should understand that its findings directly relate to how the c.i.a. operates today. for an example of how the c.i.a. has repeated its same past mistakes in more recent years,
10:56 am
look at the section of the executive summary released yesterday that deals with the intelligence on the courier that led to osama bin laden. that operation took place under this administration in may 2011. after it was over, the c.i.a. coordinated to provide misinformation to the white house and its oversight committees, suggesting that the c.i.a. torture program was the tipoff information for the courier. that is 100% wrong. and it signifies the agency leader's persistent and intense culture of misrepresenting the truth to congress and the american people. thisexample illustrates again te dangers of not reckoning with the past. while i agree with my colleagues on the committee who argue that doing oversight in real time is critical, i believe we cannot turn a blind eye to the past
10:57 am
when the same problems are staring us in the face in the present. oversight by willful ignorance is not oversight at all. in her landmark floor speech earlier this year, chairman feinstein laid out how the c.i.a. has pushed back on our committee's oversight efforts. thanks to her speech, we know about the history of the c.i.a.'s destruction of interrogation videotapes and about what motivated her and her colleagues to begin the broader committee study in 2009. we know about the c.i.a.'s insistence on providing documents to the committee and a cree leased facility -- and the c.i.a. leased facility and the millions of dollars the c.i.a. paid contractors thierg read millions of times the pages used to produce before providing them to the committee staff. we know about the nearly 1,000
10:58 am
documents that the c.i.a. electronically removed from the committee's dedicated data base on two occasions in 2010, which the c.i.a. claimed its personnel did at the direction of the white house. of course we know about the panetta review. i want to turn to the panetta review. i provided more information on the events that led up to the revelations included in the panetta review in a set of additional views that i submitted for the committee's executive summary, but i want to summarize them here. from the beginning of his term as c.i.a. director, john brennan was openly hostile toward and dismissive of the committee's oversight and its efforts to review the detention and interrogation program. during his confirmation hearing
10:59 am
i obtained a promise from john brennan that he would meet with the ext committee staff on the study once confirmed. he changed his mind. in 2012 when the classified study was approved in a bipartisan vote the committee asked the white to provide prioo declassification. the white house provided no comments. instead it was provided nearly seven months later in 2013. the c.i.a.'s formal response to this study under director brennan clings to false narratives about the c.i.a.'s effectiveness when it comes to the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program. it includes many factual inaccuracies, defends the use of torture and attacks the
11:00 am
committee's oversight and findings. madam president, i believe its flippant tone represents the c.i.a.'s approach to oversight and the white house's willingness to let the c.i.a. do whatever it likes, even if its efforts are aimed at actively undermining the president's stated policies. it would be a significant disservice to let the brennan response speak for the c.i.a. thankfully, it doesn't have to. there are some c.i.a. officials and officers willing to tell it straight. in late 2013, then-c.i.a. general counsel steven preston answered a series of questions that i asked about his thoughts on the brennan response as part of his armed services nomination hearing to be general counsel of the defense department. his answers to questions about the program contrasted sharply with the brennan response. for instance, he stated matter
11:01 am
of factually that from his review of the facts, the c.i.a. provided the committee with inaccurate information regarding the detention and interrogation program. i have posted online my questions of mr. preston along with his answers. steven preston was not alone in having the moral courage to speak frankly and truthfully about the c.i.a.'s torture program. there were also other c.i.a. officers willing to document the truth. in march, 2009, then-chicago director leon panetta announced the formation of a director's review group to look at the agency's detention and interrogation program. as he stated at the time -- quote -- "the safety of the american people depends on our ability to learn lessons from the past while staying focused on the threats of today and tomorrow." end of quote. the director's review group look
11:02 am
at the same c.i.a. documents that were being provided to our committee, and they produced a series of documents that became the patent review. as i discussed in late 2013, the patent review corroborates many of the significant findings of the committee's study. moreover, the patent review frankly acknowledges significant problems and errors made in the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program. many of these same errors are denied or minimized in the brennan response. as chairman feinstein so eloquently outlined in her floor speech on march 11 of this year, drafts of the patent review had been provided by the c.i.a. unknowingly to our committee staff years before within the six million pages of documents it had provided, so when the committee received the brennan
11:03 am
response, i expected a recognition of errors and a clear plan to assure that the mistakes identified would not be repeated again. instead, madam president, this is a crucial, crucial point. instead, the c.i.a. continued not only to defend the program and deny any wrongdoing but also to deny its own conclusions to the contrary found in the patent review. in light of those clear factual disparities between the brennan response and the patent review, committee staff grew concerned that the c.i.a. was knowingly providing inaccurate information to the committee in the present day, which is a serious offense and a deeply troubling matter for the committee, the congress, the white house and our country. the patent review was evidence of that potential offense. so in order to preserve that
11:04 am
evidence, the committee staff severely transported a printed portion of the patent review from the c.i.a. leased facility to the committee's secure offices in the senate. this was the proper and right thing to do, not only because of the seriousness of the potential crime but also in light of the fact that the c.i.a. had previously destroyed interrogation videotapes without authorization and over objections of officials in the bush white house. in my view, the patent review is a smoking gun. it raises fundamental questions about why a review of the c.i.a. conducted internally years ago and never provided to the committee is so different from the official brennan response and so different from the public statements of former c.i.a. officials. that's why i asked for a complete copy of the patent review at a december, 2013, intelligence committee hearing.
11:05 am
although the committee now has a portugal of the review already in its possession, i believed then as i do now that it is important to make public its existence and to obtain a full copy of the report. and that's why i'm here today, to disclose some of its key findings and conclusions on the senate floor for the public record, which fly directly in the face of claims made by senior c.i.a. officials past and present. for example, as i mentioned earlier, on a number of key matters, the patent review directly refutes information in the brennan response, and in the few instances in which the brennan response acknowledges imprecision or mischaracterization relative to the detention program, the patent review is refreshingly
11:06 am
free of excuses, qualifications or caveats. the patent review found that the c.i.a. repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the congress, the president and the public on the efficacy of its coercive techniques. the brennan response, in contrast, continues to insist the c.i.a.'s interrogations produced unique intelligence to save lives, yet the patent review identifies dozens of documents that include inaccurate information used to justify the use of torture and indicates that the inaccuracies it identifies do not represent an exhaustive list. the patent review further describes how detainees provided intelligence prior to the use of torture against them. prior to the use of the torture against them. it describes how the c.i.a., contrary to its own
quote
11:07 am
representations, often tortured detainees before trying any other approach. it describes how the c.i.a. tortured detainees even when less coercive methods were yielding intelligence. the patent review furred identifies cases in which the c.i.a. used coercive techniques when it had no basis for determining whether a detainee had critical intelligence at all in other words, c.i.a. sernl tortured detainees to confirm they didn't have intelligence, not because they thought they did. again, while a small portion of this review is preserved in our committee's spaces, i have requested the full document, a request that has been denied by director brennan. and i will tell you the patent review is much more than a summary and incomplete drafts, which is the way mr. brennan and
11:08 am
former c.i.a. officials have characterized it in order to minimize its significance. i have reviewed this document, and it is significant and relevant as it gets. the refusal to provide the full patent review and the refusal to acknowledge facts detailed in both the committee study and the patent review lead to one disturbing finding. director brennan and the c.i.a. today are continuing to willfully provide inaccurate information and misrepresent the efficacy of torture. in other words, the c.i.a. is lying. this is not a problem of the past, madam president, but a problem that needs to be dealt with today. let me turn to the search of the
11:09 am
intelligence committee's computers. clearly, the present leadership of the c.i.a. agrees with me that the patent review is a smoking gun. that's the only explanation for the c.i.a.'s unauthorized search of the committee's dedicated computers in january. the c.i.a.'s illegal search was conducted out of concern that the committee staff was provided with the patent review, and it demonstrates how far the c.i.a. will go to keep its secrets safe. instead of just asking the committee if it had access to the patent review, the c.i.a. searched without authorization or notification the committee computers that the agency had agreed were off-limits, and in so doing, the agency may have violated multiple provisions of the constitution as well as federal criminal statutes and executive order 12333.
11:10 am
more troubling, despite admitting behind closed doors to the committee that the c.i.a. conducted the search, director brennan publicly referred to -- quote -- spurious allegations about c.i.a. actions that are wholly unsupported by the facts. he even said that such allegations of computer hacking were beyond -- quote -- the scope of reason, end quote. the c.i.a. then made a criminal referral to the department of justice against the committee staff who were working on the study. chairman feinstein believed these actions were an effort to intimidate the committee staff, the very staff charged with c.i.a. oversight, and i strongly agree with her point of view. the c.i.a.'s inspector general subsequently opened an investigation into the c.i.a.'s unauthorized search and found,
11:11 am
contrary to director brennan's public protestations, that a number of c.i.a. employees did, in fact, improperly access the committee's dedicateed computers. investigation found no basis for the criminal referral on the committee staff. the i.g. also found that the c.i.a. personnel involved demonstrated a -- quote -- lack of candor about their activities to the inspector general. however, only a one-page unclassified summary of the i.g.'s report is publicly available. the longer classified investigator was only provided briefly to members when it was first released, and i had to push hard to get the c.i.a. to provide a copy to the committee to keep in its own records. even the copy in committee records is restricted to committee members and only two staff members, not including my
11:12 am
staff member. after having reviewed the i.g. report myself again recently, i believe even more strongly that the full report should be declassified and publicly released. in part because director brennan still refuses to answer the committee's questions about the search. in march, the committee voted unanimously to request responses if director brennan about the computer search. the chairman and vice chairman wrote a letter to director brennan who promised a thorough response to their questions. after the justice department and c.i.a. i.g. reviews were complete. the director has refused to answer any questions on that topic and has again deferred his answers, this time until after the c.i.a.'s internal accountability board review is
11:13 am
completed, if it ever is. so from march until december, for almost nine months, director brennan has flat-out refused to answer basic questions about the computer search, whether he suggested the search or proved it. if not, who did? he has refused to explain why the search was conducted, its legal basis or whether he was even aware of the agreement between the committee and the c.i.a., laying out protections for the committee's dedicated computer system. he has refused to say whether the computers were searched more than once, whether the c.i.a. monitored committee staff at the c.i.a. leased facility, whether the agency ever entered the committee's secure room at the facility and who at the c.i.a. knew about the search, both before and after it occurred. madam president, i want to turn at this point to the white house
11:14 am
to date, there has been no accountability for the c.i.a.'s actions or for director brennan's failure of leadership. despite the facts presented, the president has expressed full confidence in director brennan and demonstrated that trust by making no effort at all to rein him in. the president stated that it wasn't appropriate for him to wade into these issues that exist between the committee and the c.i.a. as i said at the time, the committee should be able to do its oversight work, consistent with our constitutional principle of the separation of powers. without the c.i.a. posing impediments or obstacles as it has and as it continues to do today. for the white house to not recognize this principle and the gravity of the c.i.a.'s actions deeply troubles me today and
11:15 am
continues to trouble me. far from being a disinterested observer in the committee's c.i.a. battles, the white house has played a central role from the start. if former c.i.a. director patent's memoirs are to be believed, the director was unhappy about mr. patent's initial agreement with the committee in 2009 to allow staff access to operational cables and other essential documents about the torture program. and assuming its accuracy, mr. patent's account then describes then-counterterrorism advisor john brennan and current chief of staff mcdonough as also being unhappy about this expanded oversight. there are more questions that need answers about the role of the white house in the committ committee's study. for example, there are the 9,400
11:16 am
documents that were withheld from the committee by the white house in the course of the review of the millions of documents. despite the fact that these documents are directly responsive to the committee's document request. the white house has never made a formal claim of executive privilege over the documents yet it has failed to respond to the chairman's requests for the documents or to compromise proposals she has offered to review a summary listing of them. when i asked c.i. general counsel steven preston about the documents, he noted that -- quote -- "the agency has deferred to the white house and has not been substantially involved in subsequent discussions about the disposition of these documents." now, look, if the documents are privileged, the white house should assert that claim, but if they are not, white house officials need to explain why they pulled back documents that the c.i.a. believed were
11:17 am
relevant to the committee's investigation and responsive to our direct request. the white house has not led on this issue in the manner we expected when we heard the president's campaign speeches in 2008 and read the executive order he issued in january 2009. to c.i.a. employees in april 2009, president obama said, "what makes the united states special and what makes you special is precisely the fact that we are willing to uphold our values and ideals even when it's hard, not just whether it's easy, even when we are afraid and under threat. not just when it's expedient to do so. that's what makes us different." this tough, principled talk set an important tone from the beginning of his presidency. however, let's fast forward to this year. after so much has come to light about the the c.i.a.'s armed services committe -- c.i.a.'sba.
11:18 am
president obama's response was, we've crossed the line as a nation and that -- quote -- "hopefully we don't do it again in the future." that's not good enough. we need to be better than that. there can be no coverup. there can be no excuses. if there's no moral leadership from the white house helping the public understand that the c.i.a.'s torture program wasn't necessary and didn't save lives or disrupt terrorist plots, then what's to stop the next white house and c.i.a. director from supporting torture? finally, the white house has not led on transparency, as then-senator obama promised in 2007. he said then that -- quote -- "we'll protect sources and methods but we won't use sources and methods as pretext to hide the truth. our history doesn't belong to
11:19 am
washington, it belongs to america." and in 2009, consistent with his promise, president obama issued executive order 13526 which clarified that information should be classified to protect sources and methods but not to obscure key facts or cover up embarrassing or illegal acts. but actions speak louder than words. this administration, like so many before it, has released information only when forced to by a leak or by court order or by an oversight committee. the redactions to the committee's executive summary on the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program have been a case study in this refusal to be open. despite requests that both the chairman and i made for the white house alone to lead to the declassification process, it was given to the white house by the
11:20 am
c.i.a., the same agency of the focus of this report. and predictably, the redacted committee that came back to the committee in august obscured key findings and facts and conclusions of the study. the c.i.a. also included unnecessary redactions to previously acknowledged and otherwise unclassified information. why, madam president? presumably to make it more difficult for the public to understand the study's findings. content that the c.i.a.'s attempt to redact includes information on the official declassified report of the senate armed services committee, other executive branch declassified official documents, information of books and speeches delivered by former c.i.a. officers that were approved by the c.i.a.'s publication review board, news articles and other public reports. now, it's true that through negotiations between the committee, the c.i.a. and the
11:21 am
white house, many of these issues were resolved. however, at the end of the day, the white house and the c.i.a. would not agree to include any pseudonyms in the study to disguise the names of c.i.a. officers. in 2009, the c.i.a. and the committee had agreed to use c.i.a. provided pseudonyms for c.i.a. officials but in the summary's final version, the c.i.a. insisted that even the pseudonyms should be redacted. for an agency concerned about morale, this is the wrong approach to take, in my view. by making it less possible to follow a narrative thread throughout the summary, this approach effectively throws many c.i.a. personnel under the bus. it tars all of the c.i.a. personnel by making it appear that the c.i.a. at large was responsible for developing, implementing and representing the truth about the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation
11:22 am
program. in fact, a small number of c.i.a. officers were largely responsible. further, there's no question that the identities of undercover agents must be protected, but it's unprecedented for the c.i.a. to demand, and the white house agree, that every c.i.a. officer's pseudonym in the study be blacked out. u.s. government agencies have used pseudonyms to protect officers' identities in any number of past reports, including the 9/11 commission report, the investigation of abu ghraib detention facility, and the report on the iran-contra affair. we asked the c.i.a. to identify any instances in the summary wherein a c.i.a. official represented by a pseudonym would result in the outing of a c.i.a. officer, and they could not provide any such examples. why do i focus on this?
11:23 am
the c.i.a.'s insistence on blacking out even the fake names of its officers is problematic because the study is less readable and has lost some of its narrative thread. but as the chairman has said, we will find ways to bridge that gap. the tougher problem to solve is how to ensure this and future administrations follow president obama's pledge not to use sources and methods as pretext to high thto hide the truth. what, madam president, needs top done? chairman feinstein predicted back in march at the height of the frenzy over the c.i.a.'s spying on committee-dedicated computers, that our oversight role will prevail and generally speaking, it has. much of the truth is out thanks to the chairman's persistence and the dedicated staff involved
11:24 am
in this effort. this is, indeed, an historic event. but there's still no accountability. and despite director brennan's pledges to me in january 2013, still no correction of the public record of the inaccurate information the c.i.a. has spread for years and continues to stand behind. the c.i.a. has lied to its overseers and the public, destroyed and tried to hold back evidence, spied on the senate, made false charges against our staff, and lied about torture and the results of torture. and no one has been held to account. torture just didn't happen, after all. contrary to the president's recent statement, we didn't torture some folks. real actual people engaged in torture.
quote
11:25 am
some of these people are still employed by the c.i.a. and the u.s. government. they are right now people serving in high-level positions at the agency who approved, directed or committed acts related to the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program. it's bad enough not to prosecute these officials, but to reward or promote them and risk the integrity of the u.s. government to protect them is incomprehensible. the president needs to purge his administration of high-level officials who were instrumental to the development and running of this program. he needs to force a cultural climate change aconsultchange a. presidents also should report legislation limiting noncoercive techniques, to make sure his own executive order is codified and prevent a future administration from developing its own torture
quote
11:26 am
program. the president must ensure the panetta review is declassified and publicly released. the full 6,800-page study on the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program should be declassified and released. there also needs to be accountability for the c.i.a.'s spying on its oversight committee and the c.i.a.'s inspector general's report needs to be declassified and released to the public. a key lesson i've learned from my experience with the study is the importance of the role of congress in overseeing the intelligence community. it is always easier to accept what we are told at face value than it is to ask tough questions. if we rely on others to tell us what's behind their own curtain instead of taking a look for ourselves, we can't know for certain what's there.
quote
11:27 am
this isn't at all to say that what the committee found in its study is a culture and behavior we should ascribe to all employees of the c.i.a. or of the intelligence community. the intelligence community is made up of thousands of hardworking, patriotic americans. these women and men are consummate professionals who risk their lives every day to keep us safe and to provide their best assessments regardless of political or policy considerations. but incumbent on government leaders, it's incumbent on us, to live up to the dedication of these employees and to make them proud of the institutions they work for. it gives me no pleasure to say this, but as i've said before, for director brennan, that means resigning. for the next c.i.a. director, that means immediately correcting the false record and instituting the necessary
11:28 am
reforms to restore the c.i.a.'s reputation for integrity and analytical rigor. the c.i.a. cannot be its best until it faces the serious and grievous mistakes of the detention and interrogation program. and for president obama that means taking real action to live up to the pledges he made early in his presidency. serving on the senate intelligence committee for the last four years opened my eyes and gave me a much deeper appreciation of the importance of our role in balancing the power in our great government. it also helps me understand that all members of congress, not not just intelligence committee members, have an opportunity and an obligation to exercise their oversight powers. members who do not serve on the intelligence committees can ask to read classified documents, call for classified briefings
11:29 am
and submit classified questions. so this is my challenge today to the american people. urge your member of congress to be engaged, to get classified briefings, and to help keep the intelligence community accountable. this is the only way that secret government and democracy can coexist. we have so much to be proud of in our great nation and one of those matters of pride is our commitment to admit mistakes, correct past actions, and move forward knowing that we are made stronger when we refuse to be bound by the past. we've always been a forward-looking nation, but to be so, we must be mindful of our own history. that's what this study is all about and it's why i have no doubt that we will emerge from a dark episode with our democracy
11:30 am
strengthened and our future made brighter. it's been an honor to serve on this committee and i will miss doing its important work more than i can say. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. mr. walsh: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. walsh: i rise today to speak to this body and to my fellow montanans about service. in preparing to leave the senate, i add my voice to the voices of many others departing members who have called for a return to civility in washington, d.c. politics today is too full of pettiness. public servants, you and i, as well as those elected to serve in the next congress, should not set the standard with better
11:31 am
words and better actions, but we should also lead from the front. i'm not saying anything that hasn't already been said, but more of us need to say it. if we are lucky, which we are, we are even blessed to stand in this room and do what we do on behalf of our fellow citizens. everyone in this chamber has a unique story about their roots and their path to public service. mine began in butte, montana. i was the son of a unite fitter and my path led to the military. i enlisted out of high school in the montana national guard and soon found a career serving my neighbors and family. the national guard, the great citizen wing of our armed services, was a home for me. leading my fellow soldiers into combat in iraq in 2004 and 2005 was a defining experience in my life.
11:32 am
overseeing two successful elections for the iraqis added new perspective to my view on democracy. fighting insurgents drove home how fortunate we are to live in the united states of america and enjoy the freedoms we often take for granted. the men of task grizz who, unfortunately, didn't come home with me and the men and women who came back with visible and invisible wounds have truly defined the cost of war for me and they remind me every single day the cost of public servants getting it wrong when it comes to our national defense. i've devoted much of my professional life since returning home to accounting for the true costs of war. today, from my perspective, the decks are stacked against the democratic process in america in many ways. there's too much money, too much noise, and too little commitment to finding common
11:33 am
ground. anonymous money masquerading as free speech can poison campaigns. it silences the voices of the majority of america's citizens. the concentration of wealth in fewer hands is bad for our society, just as the ability for a handful of the wealthy to carry the loudest megaphones in our elections is bad for our democracy. elections are starting to look much like auctions. dark money and circus politics shouldn't prevent the united states senate from honorably living up to the power we've been given. growing up in a little house that shook twice a day from the dynamite blasts in the copper mine nearby, i never thought i would be involved in public as much as. i aspired to have a decent job, i aspired to get an education, i aspired to having the time to fish the lakes and streams that i fished with my father. just the normal stuff.
11:34 am
that normal stuff is what i think most americans still want today. and too often can't achieve. public service, becoming a soldier, was my ticket to a better life, a job, and a college education. after only a small taste, i discovered that i loved public service. i loved being devoted to something bigger than myself. we should all remember that congress can always use more americans from more walks of life who have discovered public service through unlikely means. it's the privilege of my life to serve the people of montana in the seat of senators lee metcalf and max baucus. lee, along with mike mansfield was my senator in butte, montana. the great conservationist cecil gathered said -- quote -- "it was typical of lee to fight to
11:35 am
give the little guy a voice in government decisions." in my time in this chamber i have tried to follow lee's example. the people who need a voice in this chamber are the ranchers and hardware store owners like cecil in towns like lincoln and dylan. the person who needs a voice in this chamber is the mother in troy, montana, who became the primary breadwinner when hers who lost his job cutting timber. the person who needs a voice is the woman in shelby, montana who has none dunn everything right, studied hard and earned her degree only to be squeezed by too much student detective and too few opportunities. the people who need royces are service emmembers from grade false who return from iraq with delayed john set ptsd. they are the entrepreneurs introduce in bozeman, montana who opened small distilleries and face a tangle of red tape.
11:36 am
they are the committed couples across montana, your neighbors, my family, my friends, treated like second-class citizens because of who they love. so today, i urge my colleagues to lend people like this in each of your states your voice as a the united states senator in this chamber. i am humbled by the number of challenges that face the next congress. i urge my colleagues to continue to fight to protect americans' civil liberties. i leave the senate dismayed by the scope of government surveillance in our everyday life. congress must always -- and i emphasize always -- protect the privacy of our citizens. i remain deeply concerned about the national security agency's unconstitutional spying on americans' communication. the secret back doors in the department of commerce encryption standards and the gag orders under the f.b.i. national security letter program.
11:37 am
i urge my colleagues to continue fighting for rural america. we need stronger voting rights for more jobs in indian country to promote tribal sovereignty and prosperity. we need to keep our farm safety net strong and address the -- and protect the livestock industry. we need the to reform the payment in lou of taxes programs, small county schools and roads depend on them. these same rural communities need better management of our national forests, something congress and the forest service need to focus on. we need an honest conversation and urgent solutions to the incredible challenge posed by climate change. as i said earlier from the same podium, we cannot put our heads in the sand and continue with business as usual. members of congress should be taking responsibility and
11:38 am
upholding the oaths we all swore. we should agree with science, climate change is a clear enemy and congress must take steps to stop it. the next congress should be thoughtful about women and families from health care decisions to paycheck fairness. finally, implore all of congress, all of you, to redouble your attention to the crisis of suicide amongst our veterans. yesterday the house of representatives passed the clay hunt suicide prevention for america's veterans act and that bill sits before this body and we have an opportunity to act, we have an opportunity to pass it. i mentioned the invisible wounds of war already. if this country were losing 22 service members a day on the battlefield, americans would be on the streets protesting. congress would be demanding action. but that is exactly the number of veterans who die by suicide each and every day from across
11:39 am
our country. veteran suicide is an urgent crisis facing our communities and congressional action is long overdue. i believe that extending the eligibility for combat veterans at the v.a. is one essential way to address delayed on set ptsd and reduce the suicide rate amongst our veterans. this simple fix and other solutions that improve access to mental health care for veterans should continue to be a top priority for the next congress. it is fitting in the last days of the 113th congress the senate is sending the president a bill that carries on the public lands legacy of senators lee metcalf and max baucus. and the thousands of montanans who worked together to find common ground. in the words of randolph jennings, senator rock rockefeller's predecessor from west virginia, lee was a tireless champion of preserving and protecting our nation's
11:40 am
national heritage for succeeding generations to use and enjoy. after lee's death, max and the rest of the delegation carried on his legacy by passing wilderness designations for the bear tooth, the great bear and the lee metcalf wilderness areas. in that same spirit i'm honored to join senator jon tester and john-elect steve daines in carrying on their legacy by passing the watershed protection act and the rocky heritage act. we took a page from montanans. we sat down together and we've worked out an agreement to protect almost 700,000 acres of the crown of the continent. this is how democracy should work. 42 years after the first citizen-driven wilderness, this week congress is expanding the scapegoat and bob marshall wildernesses areas in montana. 38 years after the flathead river was protected from schemes to dam and divert it, this week
11:41 am
congress is protecting the flathead and glacier national park forever from efforts to mine it and drill it. montanans came together, farmers, ranchers, small business owners, conservationists, hunters, anglers, they worked together to find common ground. montanans went there first and their representatives in congress followed. when congress rewards the work of citizens who collaborate when we finally reach the critical mass in this chamber to be responsive, that is the day we earn the title of public servant. montanans can be hopeful today that government by them and for them still works. they can still effect change. the senate still listened and serves. when president eisenhower left office in 1961, congress passed legislation at his request that restored his military title.
11:42 am
he wanted to be remembered as a career soldier, rather than the commander in chief. my 33 years in uniform define my life. i will always be a soldier. as a soldier, as a husband to my wife, jannette, who has been my partner for 31 years, as a proud dad to michael and taylor, as a father-in-law to my daughter-in-law, april and as the grandfather of a little girl named kennedy who will inherit this great nation, i will return to civilian life with great hope for the united states senate and for the united states of america. i along with millions of others will be watching closely and imploring members in this chamber to check politics at the door and instead focus on the future. honor the veterans and their families who sacrificed so much for us, honor the seniors who have heard promises from you and i, honor the most vulnerable amongst us. they are who we all should fight
11:43 am
for. madam president, i am forever grateful to have served the people of montana in this building, standing side by side with each and every one of you. god bless each and every one of you and may god continue to bless the united states of america. thank you. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
11:44 am
11:45 am
quorum call:
11:46 am
11:47 am
11:48 am
mrs. boxer: madam president, i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: wowcts. mrs. boxer: madam president, i am about to ask for unanimous consent to pass a substitute amendment to the coast guard bill, and senator vitter and i are going to get into a bit of a colloquy over it. but first i want to explain what we're doing here. the coast guard bill includes the text of s. 2963, a bill that i introduced to permanently eliminate the requirement that small fishing boats obtain a permit for discharges incidentally to operational. this is really important. the bill has 14 cosponsors. i'm very happy that senator murkowski is now a cosponsor of that important legislation. so this substitute that is at the desk includes that permanent
11:49 am
fix, so that never again do small fishermen have to worry about being subjected to these permits. the it exempts commercial vessels less than 79 feet from having to get this discharge permit. we first enacted a moratorium on permits in 20008. we've extended it twice. the current moratorium expires next week. if we don't act, these small vessels will require a permit for the first time. i think it's time to say once and for all that these small vessels just do not and will never need a permit. i think a temporary moratorium leaves thousands of them -- the boat operators and the fish hemen in -- fishermen in limbo. they're different than the large
11:50 am
ships that introduce harmful, invasive species into our coastal waters. that's why a broad array of groups including the american sport fishing association, congressional sportsmen foundation, moro, manager marins association understand amers support this permanent exemption for our small boatses. i really hope colleagues would support this, but i understand there's another proposal coming forward, so now i ask unanimous consent that the commerce committee be discharged from further consideration of s. 2444, the senate proceed to its immediate consideration, the substitute amendment containing a permanent exemption for discharges for small commercial vessels and fishing vessels that is at the desk be agreed to, the bill as amended be read three times and passed, the title amendment be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be
11:51 am
considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. vitter: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: madam president, reserving the righ right to obji appreciate the comments of the senator from california and want to work with her toward a common goal, and in that spirit i ask unanimous consent that the senator modify her request and agree to the substitute amendment, which is also at the desk, which includes a three-year extension of the vessel discharge moratorium. the presiding officer: will the senator from california so modify her request? mrs. boxer: i reserve the right to object, but i do not intend to object. i would just like to say, i'm going to agree to this three-year moratorium, but i am a little stunned as to why we're doing this again. we could give these small boats a permanent exemption.
11:52 am
it's an important economic issue. i don't like this approach, but it's the best we can do. and i want the american people and the fishermen to know, we tried so hard to get this fix permanently. but i've glad we've got a three-year moratorium. it's better than nothing, and i will, therefore, agree to the modification. the presiding officer: is there objection to the request, as modified? without objection, so ordered. mrsms. murkowski: madam president, i want to weigh in on this issue because it is a critically important issue for my state, for all coastal states, for any state that has commercial fishermen, as my colleague from california and as my colleague from louisiana notes. and i appreciate the fact that we have come to a place where we are going to save these small fishermen from the potential
11:53 am
burden of reporting to e.p.a. for any incidental discharge from their vessels for the next three years. i need to acknowledge the good work of my friend from california. she has recognized that we began this years ago -- years ago, back in 2008 when we had to work together at that time to get a short-term extension to ensure that our small vessel owners would not be subjected to these e.p.a. requirements that most people would say, what is this reporting all about? and for those who need a little more graphic detail as to what we're talking about, when you take a commercial fishing vessel out, you know, your 45-foot commercial fishing vessel and you have a good day fishing, you've got some salmon guts on
11:54 am
the deck, you've got a little bit of slime. you hose it off. madam president, that would be an incidental discharge that would be reportable to the e.p.a., and if you fail to report, you could be subject to civil penalties. that's not what we're talking about here. and i think it is important to note that you have two leaders here in the senate who perhaps approach some of the e.p.a. issues from a different angle. senator boxer has been a staunch advocate for making sure that when we're talking about clean air, clean water, we're complying with those regulations. senator vitter has also been a staunch advocate for making sure that our small businesses, our jobs, and our economic opportunities aren't stymied by these regulations. so the fact that you have two members coming together to acknowledge we have to do something to ensure that these
11:55 am
regulations do not impede the ability of our small fishermen, of our commercial operators in the water, those vessels below 79 feet, that we're not harming them. in my home state of alaska we're talking about 8,500 commercial fishermen who were most anxious that eight days from now they were going to be put in a position where they were effectively violating e.p.a. regulations, subject to civil penalties, for the simple act of runoff off of their decks. so i concur with senator boxer. this is something where we don't need to be going from year to year to year to address. we don't knead t need to injectn uncertainty into the operations of our hardworking fishing families. we need to have a permanent solution. i want to work with that permanent solution. senator vitter has clearly
11:56 am
indicated he's willing to help with us that. senator thune in commerce has made that clear. we know that we have to address the ballast issues. we will do that and i'm looking forward to being engaged in that in the 114th congress. for now, i think it's critically important that consensus has been reached, and i acknowledge the good work of both the senator from louisiana and the senator from california and senator thune for getting us to this point where we can take the pressure off of our small commercial operators and ensure that they can do what they do so very, very well. i'm going to look forward to the next congress where we're making this permanent and, again, where we're dealing with so many of the other issues. but i thank my colleagues today. mrs. boxer: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: madam president, you i jusijust want to make suri thank senator murkowski and senator begich. when i started this, senator begich was my first cosponsor.
11:57 am
senator murkowski made this bipartisan, and i think the important thing is that we could have done it permanently. and i jus don' i just don't wan. we could have done it permanently, and we didn't. and that's sad. and there are reasons for that, and i wasn't born yesterday, as most of you can tell. i know why -- i know why it wasn't done, you know. people are going to use this as the little engine that could to drive some other stuff behind it, which is not good stuff. and i want to see that we can protect our small boats, and i'm going to continue to do that. and i hope we will work together, senator, as we move forward in this new senate run by, in the case of the committee i proudly chair, senator inhofe, who i think will be very good on this issue; senator thune, who we know is good on this issue. so we have the pieces in place. the and whatever objections --
11:58 am
and whatever objections there were, i don't think there are really objections to the permanency. there are political objections to try to use this to get some other bad stuff attached to tft and i'm not -- attached to it. and i am a not goin i'm not goit happen. no way, no how. know whatever somebody has in mind that they're going to try to connect to this baby, they're not going to do that. we can't take one really good thing and destroy it. so i'm not going to let that happen. but right now we have a three-year deal put in place. we can breathe easy. if i'm someone contemplating, senator, buying a small boat, this is one less worry i have. i could have had it permanently. i have it for three years. at least i have it, and that's good. i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the consideration of calendar number 526, s. 2519.
11:59 am
the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 526, s. 2519, a bill to codify an existing operation operationr for cybersecurity. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding? without objection, so ordered. botch box i ask unanimous consent that the committee d.,. mrs. boxer: i ask unanimous consent that the committee-reported amendment be withdrawn, the carper substitute amendment be agreed to, the bill as and be read a third time and the senate proceed to vote on passage of the bill as amended. ferraro is therthe presiding the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. if there's no further debate, the question is on the bill, as amended. all those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the bill, as amend, is passed. mrs. boxer: i ask unanimous consent that the motions to reconsider be considered made, laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without
12:00 pm
objection. mrs. boxer: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the consideration of calendar number 578, h.r. 407. -- the clerk will report. the clerk: an act to reauthorize the nuclear facilities antiterrorism program. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding on the bill? without objection. mrs. boxer: madam president, i ask unanimous consent the committee-reported substitute be considered, the carper-coburn amendment which is at the desk be agreed to, the committee substitute as amended be agreed to, the bill as amended be read a third time and the senate proceed to vote on passage of the bill as amended. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. if there's no further debate, the question is on the bill, as amended. all those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it.
12:01 pm
and the bill, as amended, is passed. mrs. boxer: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the motions to reconsider be considered made, laid onthe upot table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the homeland security and governmental affairs committee be discharged from further consideration of h.r. 2952 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 2952, an act to amend the homeland security act of 2002 and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding on the measure? without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed. mrs. boxer: madam president, i further ask the carper substitute amendment which is at the desk be agreed to, the bill as amended be read a third time, the senate proceed to vote on passage of the bill as amended. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered.
12:02 pm
if there's no further debate on the measure, all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. and the bill as amended is passed. mrs. boxer: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the carper title amendment be agreed to and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with had no intervening debate or action. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: and, madam president, i have seven unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of both the majority and the minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent these requests be agreed to and that these requests be printed into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: thank you very much, madam president. i would yield the floor. mr. vitter: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr. begich: madam president, i'll be brief but i want to thank both the senators on the floor, senator boxer, senator
12:03 pm
vitter, for working on this issue, which was critical for our alaska fishermen and really fishermen across the country but, more importantly, this will resolve the issue with the coast guard bill, which is critical to get done for many other reasons. and so first on the discharge issue, as stated earlier, this is an important waiver for our fishermen in alaska. this will ensure that a regulation that really was not going to have any positive impact or positive impact in regards to what the e.p.a. was attempting to do but would really have a negative impact in regards to our fishermen, getting a three-year waiver is exceptional because every year we would have a one-year waiver. so having three is fantastic. but i would agree with senator boxer, this should be permanent. permanent. so i look forward to watching from the outside, in to see how this happens over the next couple of years. but i will say this. the coast guard authorization bill was critical to get done. this had many provisions that were important, i can tell you,
12:04 pm
from alaska, as the chair of the committee that dealt with the coast guard bill not only this year but two years ago, we have been successful now, at least since i've been chair, to ensure that the bill passed by a u.c., unanimous consent, and not having big floor fights over it, working out the differences and, again, thanking senator vitter for your effort here in making sure we move forward on this legislation. the issues that i just want to highlight and then i'll close, madam president, is the coast guard bill is not only important for our fishermen in alaska, the 79 feet and under ships but also many other things. it ensures additional resources for the arctic and antarctic and ensures icebreaking capabilities including extending the service life of the current polar sea. it enhances vessel safety information regarding ice and weather conditions and improved oil spill prevention and response capabilities. it also ensures availability for quality child care for our coast guard personnel.
12:05 pm
when we require our coast guard personnel to go all over this country, part of it is their families, obviously are with them, and making sure they have quality-of-life aspects. it's important for us to recruit and continue for us to get the best of the best. it also creates an educational and portable career opportunities for active-duty coast guard, spouses and eases transition for coast guard personnel in their post-service life. it provides inflation adjustment funding levels for something very important for us in alaska, the cook inlet regional citizens advisory committee. this group has citizens involved to ensure that activity in this region, the cook inlet -- there's a lot of oil activity and fishing activity and other types of activities are in that region -- that citizens are engaged and their input. it's not just industry, it's industry and citizens working together. this ensures that their funding continues and is inflation adjusted for the future and that's important.
12:06 pm
and last, small item but it allows the commandant to issue leases on tidelands and submerged lands. again, this is important because there are parcels of property that the coast guard controls that are next and adjacent to small communities and we need to make sure that there's flexibility for them to be able to do the work they need to do. this piece of legislation, again, the legislation was coast sponsored by senator rockefeller, senator thune, senator marco rubio, maria cantwell and many other who cosponsored this legislation. truly a bipartisan piece of legislation, what we do best around here when we work together. imagine a piece of legislation like this, an authorization legislation for one of our large agencies, coast guard, now the second time happening without a big fight on the floor, without this back-and-forth between the house and senate but actually getting the work done so our coast guard personnel know they have a budget, they have quality-of-life issues and in my case in alaska, making sure it is arctic is taken care of. we also increased and made sure
12:07 pm
the coast guard ongoing replacement program is there. $1.5 billion to continue to increase and improve the coast guard equipment for our country, which is also very important. madam president, i'll end on this. i do have a unanimous consent i need to read in regards to some privileges. but i'll do that in just one second. but again, i want to thank the body, thank the folks on both sides of the aisle. as chair of the committee, it was my honor to be able to move this forward but also i want to give a special thanks to all my staff members who worked on this because without the staff of all our senators that participated in this, we could not get the work done. so i appreciate that. i'll end those comments. i do have a unanimous consent for the following people from my office to be granted floor privileges for the remainder of the is 113th congress, levar kirkpatrick, eleanor murphy, morgan mayna, and joey demart.
12:08 pm
the presiding officer: without objection. mr. begich: i yield the floor. mr. vitter: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: thank you, madam president. madam president, i rise today to express strong concern and opposition to president obama's executive amnesty, which i think is clearly flat-out illegal and unconstitutional. madam president, i announce that because of that i will be voting "no" on the confirmation of loretta lynch to become attorney general, because she would directly help president obama execute that illegal executive aamnesty and she would be actively giving him legal cover, if you will, bad legal reasoning used for p.r. purposes to further that illegal executive order. and, madam president, i urge all of my colleagues who share my concern about this illegal executive amnesty to do the
12:09 pm
same. now, madam president, i strongly opposed president obama's recent actions for two reasons. the first is i think it's a horrible policy that's going to take a desperate situation of illegal immigration into this country, a situation that is truly -- that has truly reached crisis proportions, including over the last several months with these new waves, for instance, of illegal minors and make that situation much worse. why do i say that? well, madam president, it's sort of common sense. if you take a big action that's going to reward folks who have participated in that illegal crossing, what do you think you're going to get, more of it or less of it? you reward behavior, you're going to get more of it. you punish or stop behavior, you're going to get less of it. so just on policy grounds, this
12:10 pm
major executive action, this illegal executive amnesty for about 5 million illegal aliens in our country is going to reward that behavior and produce more of it. as we have proved, we don't have adequate protections at the border, an adequate system of enforcement in place either at the border or, just as importantly, at the workplace. so horrible policy that's going to make the situation worse. but the second concern i have, madam president, is much, much more fundamental and it goes to the constitutional authority of the president, the fact that this is clearly beyond his authority because he is acting contrary to statutory law. the congress, the president have acted together in the past, laid out statutory law about immigration. this is clearly directly
12:11 pm
contrary to that statutory law. because the president, through his executive action, is not simply saying, i'm going to refuse to prosecute this case or that case or even a broad category of cases. he's going even further and saying, i'm going to issue work permits to affirmatively say that these people can work legally in our country, to affirmatively say that employers can hire these people even though that is directly contrary to all sorts of statutory law on the books now. now, madam president, every president of the united states has significant powers, obviously, and presidents have the power to fill in the details of legislation when those details are not clear and when they need to do so to properly execute the law. but that's completely difference
12:12 pm
than doing something contrary to statutory law. and that's what president obama is doing here. now, several people directly involved in this, including the supreme court, including president obama, ironically, have made this clear. the supreme court in the past has recognized that -- quote -- "over no conceivable subject is the power of congress more complete" than over immigration. so the supreme court has said in all subject matters of law across the board, immigration is squarely in the hands of congress under the constitution. and then, as i said, even more interesting, president obama in the past, before this illegal executive order has said he doesn't have this power. he's repeatedly acknowledged that in the past before he
12:13 pm
tried -- he took this action. he said -- quote -- "this notion that somehow i can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true." furthermore, he said -- quote -- "for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as president." that's what he said before when he was defending not taking action before, and he was right. and now he's done exactly what he correctly said before he did not have the power to do. now, madam president, as i suggested at the beginning of my remarks, the attorney general is directly related to this immigration issue and this legal constitutional issue. the attorney general is the top law enforcement officer of the united states. the attorney general is the top legal expert for the president
12:14 pm
and for the federal government. and so i think if we truly believe, as i do, as certainly my republican colleagues and as several democrats do, based on their public statements, that this executive action is wrong, is unconstitutional, is illegal, we should not confirm an attorney general who is going to further that illegal unconstitutional course of action. to me, that is very straightforward. this is not just grabbing someone out of the blue. the attorney general is directly, directly related to these issues of the constitutional bounds of law, the constitutional lines between the executive and the legislative, and immigration enforcement. based on that, madam president, i will vote "no" and i will strongly push against the confirmation of loretta lynch as
12:15 pm
attorney general and i urge my colleagues to do the same. if you believe that president obama's actions are illegal or unconstitutional through executive amnesty, then i think you need to reach the same conclusion because the attorney general is directly related to these issues of both immigration enforcenforce jt and the consti. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor.
12:16 pm
the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren: madam president, i
12:17 pm
ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: the senate is not in a quorum call. ms. warren: oh. i come to the floor today to ask a fundamental question, who does congress work for? does it work for the millionaires, the billionaires, the giant companies with their armies of lobbyists and lawyers, or does it work for all the people? people are frustrated with congress, and part of the reason, of course, is gridlock. but mostly it's because they see a congress that works just fine for the big guys, but it won't lift a finger to help them. if big companies can deploy armies of lobbyists and lawyers to get the congress to vote for special deals that benefit themselves, then we simply confirm the view of the american people that the system is rigged. and now the house of representatives is about to show us the worst of government for the rich and powerful. the house is about to vote on a budget deal, a deal negotiated
12:18 pm
behind closed doors that slips in a provision that would let derivatives traders on wall street gamble with taxpayer money and get bailed out by the government when their risky bets threaten to blow up our financial system. these are the same banks that nearly broke the economy in 2008 and destroyed millions of jobs. the same banks that got bailed out by taxpayers and are now raking in record profits. the same banks that are spending a whole lot of time and money trying to influence congress to bend the rules in their favor. now, you'll hear a lot of folks say that the rule that will be repealed in the omnibus is technical and complicated, and you shouldn't worry about it because smart people who know more than you do about financial issues say that it's no big deal. well, don't believe them.
12:19 pm
actually this rule is pretty simple. here's what it's called -- the rule that the house is about to repeal and i'm quoting from the text of dodd-frank is entitled "prohibition against federal government bailouts of swaps entities." what does it do? the provision that's about to be repealed requires the banks to keep separate a key part of their risky wall street speculation so there's no government insurance for that part of their business. as "the new york times" has explained, the goal was to isolate risky trading and to prevent government bailouts, because these sorts of risky trades, called derivatives trades were -- quote -- "a main culprit in the 2008 financial crisis." we put these rules in place after the collapse of the financial system was we wanted to reduce the risk that reckless
12:20 pm
gambling on wall street could ever again threaten jobs and livelihoods on main street. we put this rule in place because people of all political persuasions were disgusted at the idea of future bailouts. and now, no debate, no discussion, republicans in the house of representatives are threatening to shut down the government if they don't get a chance to repeal it. that raises a simple question -- why? if this rule brings more stability to our financial system, if it helps prevent future government bailouts, why in the world would anyone want to repeal it, let alone hold the entire government hostage in order to ram through this appeal? the reason, unfortunately, is simple. it's about money and it's about power. because while this legal change
12:21 pm
could pose serious risks to our entire economy, it will also make a lot of money for wall street banks. according to americans for financial reform, this change will be a huge boon to a handful of our biggest banks -- citigroup, j.p. morgan, bank of america. wall street spends a lot of time and money on congress. public citizen and the center for responsive politics found in the runup to dodd-frank the financial services sector employed 1,447 former federal employees to carry out their lobbying efforts, including 73 former members of congress. and according to a report by the institute for america's future, by 2010 the six biggest banks and their trade associations employed 243 lobbyists who once worked in the federal government, including 33 who
12:22 pm
worked as chiefs of staff for members of congress and 54 who had worked as staffers for the banking oversight committees in the house and the senate. now, that's a lot of former government employees, and senators, and congressmen, pounding on congress to make sure that the big banks get heard. no surprise that the financial industry spent more than a million dollars a day lobbying congress on financial reform, and that's a lot of money that went to former elected officials and government employees. and now we see the fruits of those investments. this provision is all about goosing the profits of the big banks. wall street isn't subtle about this one. according to documents reviewed by "the new york times," the original bill that is being incorporate operated into the house's -- incorporated into the house's spending legislation today was literally written by citigroup lobbyists who -- quote
12:23 pm
-- "redrafted the legislation" -- quote --"striking out certain phrases and inserting others." it's been opposed by current and former leaders of the fdic including sheila bear, a republican who formerly chaired the agency and thomas honig, the vice chairman of the agency. for those keeping score, this is the agency that will be responsible for bailing out wall street when their risky bets go sour. now, i know that house and senate negotiators from both parties have worked long and hard to come to an agreement on the omnibus spending legislation, and senate leaders deserve great credit for preventing the house from carrying out some of their more aggressive pants a -- fantasies about dismantling even more pieces of financial reform. but this provision goes too far. citigroup is large and it is
12:24 pm
powerful, but it is a single private company. it shouldn't get to hold the entire government hostage to threaten a government shutdown in order to roll back important protections that keep our economy safe. this is a democracy, and the american people didn't elect us to stand up for citigroup. they elected us to stand up for all the people. i urge my colleagues in the house, particularly my democratic colleagues whose votes are essential to moving this package forward, to withhold support from it until this risky giveaway is removed from the legislation. we all need to stand and fight this giveaway to the most powerful banks in this country. thank you, madam president. i yield.
12:25 pm
a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. booker: i rise today to discuss an issue that i believe should be discussed and worked on so much more in congress, the demands -- that demands an urgency of action, a dedication and a focus to address our shortfalls as a nation to live up to our ideals -- liberty and justice for all. what is written on the supreme court, a theme from our nation, equal justice under the law. it is the source of anguish that i believe is driving protests all over our economy right -- our country right now from ferguson to staten island, from
12:26 pm
new jersey to oakland, citizens of all races, all backgrounds, americans joining together to call for change, to have this idea that our legal system really should be a justice system. now, this is an anguish that is not simply the result and the reaction to specific incidents. yes, there is much discussion about those specific incidents in places like staten island, but it is a reflection of a deeper anguish, an unfinished american business that has last ed for decades. i feel in my own personal life the sense of gratitude for my unique upbringing. as a young man in 1969 when my parents literally had to get a white couple to pose as them to buy the house i grew up in in new jersey, that literally had
12:27 pm
to go through the indig nancy -- indig nancy of trying to break barriers moving into a town that was all white at the time. i stand here to tell you, i grew up in the greatest place and and the citizens of harrington park, new jersey are why i'm here. my state is remarkable. i also am here because of a city that is a majority black city, newark, new jersey, which embraced me as a young professional and i eventually came mayor. but in understanding all quarters of this country in an intimate way, i see this anguish, i've heard it here in the senate from scattered showers pulling me aside to talk to me about their anguish and frustrations about the criminal justice system, from people who do the work in this body cleaning our floors or tending to the needs of our senators,
12:28 pm
who feel this frustration about an american legal system that is falling short of american ideals, that is not a justice system. i saw it with my own parents who with agony and pain talked to me about not having a margin of error when it comes to dealing with police officers. who would coach me on how i should speak and talk, what i should do with my hands because of the fears they had of the treatment that i might have that would be different than other americans. i want you to know that i stand today because this cannot simply be reduced to a racial issue. this is the larger questions of justice in our country, this calls to the consciousness of all americans. and it is sourced by the realities we face in this country where we lead the globe in areas that no american who believes in freedom and liberty should want to lead. we have had over the last
12:29 pm
decades of my lifetime an explosion in incarceration that belies the truth of who we are. this nation has seen this country have an 800% increase in the federal prison population over the last 30 years. think about that. an 800% increase. we now have the very ignominious distinction on the globe for leading the planet earth in a country that incarcerates its own citizens. in fact, america is just 5% of the globe's population, but we have 25% of the world's imprisoned people, and i tell you, that is not because americans have a greater proclivity for criminality, it is because our legal system is not a justice system.
12:30 pm
this overincarceration, this overcriminallity anguishes this nation, aggravates divisions, undermines freedom and liberty, and costs taxpayers so much more money, it is an unnecessary burden and expense that is a self-inflicted wound in this nation that undermines our prosperity, undermines our success. we spend a quarter of a trillion dollars a year locking people up and the majority of those people are nonviolent offenders. in fact, over the last decades, right now in america there are more people in prisoned for drug offenses than all the people in respond in -- imprisoned in the 1970's. it

508 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on